Beijing: The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) on Thursday said they will continue to discuss the possibility of admitting new countries to the five-nation grouping on the basis of “full consultation and consensus”.

“We note with satisfaction the progress made in BRICS institutional development and stress that BRICS cooperation needs to embrace changes and keep abreast with the times,” a declaration issued at the end of a China-hosted virtual summit of the five-nation bloc said.

The virtual summit was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“We shall continue to set clear priorities in our wide-ranging cooperation, on the basis of consensus, and make our strategic partnership more efficient, practical and results-oriented,” the declaration said.

“We support promoting discussions among BRICS members on BRICS expansion process. We stress the need to clarify the guiding principles, standards, criteria and procedures for this expansion process through Sherpas’ channel on the basis of full consultation and consensus,” it said.

The five leaders emphasised the efforts of extending cooperation to other Emerging Markets and Developing Countries (EMDCs) and support further promoting the BRICS Outreach and BRICS Plus Cooperation in line with the updated terms of reference adopted by the BRICS Sherpas in 2021 through inclusive and equal-footed and flexible practices and initiatives.

The declaration also praised China’s Chairship for hosting a dialogue session under the theme Increased Role of Emerging Markets and Developing Countries in Global Governance’ during the Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations on May 19, 2022.

Last month, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi chaired the Dialogue of Foreign Ministers Between BRICS and Emerging Markets and Developing Countries in a virtual format.

It was attended by foreign ministers from BRICS countries, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, Senegal and representatives of the foreign ministers of the UAE and Thailand.

Brazil, Russia, India and China also extended full support to South Africa for its BRICS Chairship in 2023 and the holding of the next BRICS Summit, the declaration said.

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